Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Moscow Blames U.S. for Russian Hostages Death in Iraq

Russian presidential envoy for international cooperation in fighting terrorism and transnational organized crime Anatoly Safonov quoted by Interfax has said.

“We are saying openly that it is either governmental institutions or coalition forces that are responsible for order,” Safonov told journalists in Moscow on Tuesday.

First Vice-Speaker of the Russian State Duma, Lyubov Sliska, joined Safonov in blaming the coalition.

“We can see how the coalition forces are ’restoring order’,” she said.

“Every day dozens of innocent people are dying, and now diplomats are geting killed, too. The responsibility for what is going on in Iraq lies upon those who sought mass destruction weapons here, but found nothing,” she said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Krivtsov declined to say whether any Russian special forces currently were in Iraq but noted that there are "people responsible for security at the embassy" in Baghdad.

Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent defense analysts, told The Associated Press that "We don't have real special forces in Iraq."

An al-Qaida-linked group posted a Web video Sunday showing the killings of three Russian embassy workers abducted earlier this month in Iraq. A fourth also was said to have been killed. An accompanying statement by the Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella organization linking seven insurgent groups including al-Qaida in Iraq, said all four Russians had been killed.

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